How Messi the midget became a giant of the game

The football star took Novo Nordisk’s growth hormone delivery product Norditropin for over four years to overcome his development problems

If Barcelona manages to overcome Bayern Munich tonight and then goes on to win the Champions League title, they will probably owe much to Lionel Messi, who most pundits agree is the best player in the world. And in turn, Messi, well, he can thank Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

That’s because the little Argentine wizard received growth hormones from Novo Nordisk when he was a teenager to combat the growth hormone disorder, Constitutional Delay of Growth and Puberty (CDGP). The disorder meant that Messi would grow and physically mature much later than his peers.

According to Jyllands-Posten newspaper, Messi took Novo Nordisk’s growth hormone delivery product Norditropin for years during his early days at Barcelona in order to achieve his current height of 1.69 metres.

“Lionel Messi travelled with his family to Barcelona and the club paid for his growth hormone treatment,” Anne-Marie Kappelgaard, the medicinal head of growth hormones at Novo Nordisk, told Jyllands-Posten.

When Messi was 13 years old, it was clear that he possessed tremendous talent, but Argentine clubs like River Plate refused to take a chance on him because of his growth issues – he was a staggering 1.28 metres in height at that point, 20cm shorter than what would be considered normal for a pre-pubescent boy of his age.

Local clubs in Argentina wouldn’t pay the steep $900 monthly expenses for Messi to receive the growth hormone treatment that can result in greater height and also deal with lower immunity, pituitary issues and reduced vision.

But then Barcelona and Novo Nordisk came along and the rest is history.